How Much Weight Do I Need?

Welcome to Spearfishing School Part 15 of our 80+ part series written for people new to spearfishing. This blog is free for my readers and so is access to Spearfishing School during the beta stage. If you learn something here, sign up for our email list and share this page with someone that is looking to learn about spearfishing. It is a free way to say thanks.

In Part 13 – Do I Need a Weight Belt? we learned about neutral buoyancy. Go read that and come back if you haven’t already.

Welcome back! 🙂

How Much Lead Weight Do I Need?

It depends on your target working depth, your body’s buoyancy, how thick your wetsuit is, and the salinity of the water you are diving in. The most accurate way that I know of to get your weight belt dialed in is by experimenting with different weights. Start light, dive to your target depth and see if you float up, sink, or stay in place. If you float up, add weight. If you sink, remove weight. If you stay suspended at that depth, congratulations you are weighted for that depth. Yes, it’s that easy.


I wouldn’t set my neutral buoyancy above 30 feet. Most shallow water blackouts happen at the surface and in the top 15′ of water. If you lose motor control and or pass out above 30′ and you are weighted for neutral at 30’, will float up and have a better chance of survival. The closer you are to 30′ though the slower you will float up. If you are over weighted to so your neutral at 10’ and something goes wrong – like you pass out before making the surface, you could die. Instead of floating up you will sink. New divers tend to overweight themselves. It makes it easier to dive down but it is not safe. Don’t be lazy. don’t overweigh yourself. It’s not worth the risk.

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